Buy tickets online or on the door. Tickets £5.
At 5 pm and 8 pm Saturday 25th March
USA, 2016, 108 minutes, 15 certificate
Directed by Barry Jenkins, starring Trevante Rhodes, Andre Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomi Harris, Mahershala Ali, Alex Hibbert
Thanks to the fiasco of its Best Picture award at the Oscars, Moonlight now needs little introduction. But it deserves to be known for its own sake.
Barry Jenkins’ beautiful film is an intimate portrait of a young, black, gay man at three stages of his life – childhood, youth, adulthood. Chiron is growing up in a tough neighbourhood in Miami, the son of an absent father and an unstable mother who uses crack and finances her usage with sex work. In the first story, Chiron meets Juan, a drug dealer who becomes a surrogate father, teaching him to be proud of his skin colour and his heritage. As a teenager, he grapples with his emerging sexuality as well as his mother’s unravelling, and his persecution at the hands of school bullies. By adulthood, he is emulating his mentor, Juan, moving in risky circles and reconnecting with a face from his past. His is a world of violence, drugs, guns, early deaths and homophobia.
But where other movies might focus on the perils, and dramatize the losses and risks that plague lives like Chiron’s, Moonlight chooses to focus up close on one young man’s inner life. As a result, it acknowledges often tragic social realities but its emphasis is on Chiron’s bravery, vulnerability and beauty – and, by extension, the beauty and vulnerability and potential of all young black men. We have become so accustomed to a certain way of telling this story that it is a revelation to see a film about black youth that is so tender, so celebratory of strength and potential, a political film but one guided by love and respect. A very worthy winner of Best Picture. View the trailer here.
Booking is now open for all films
Buy tickets online or on the door . Tickets £5.
Thursday March 30th 10.30 am
Friday March 31st, 8pm
A United Kingdom
UK, 2016, 108 minutes, 12A certificate
Directed by Amma Asante, starring David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael
Asante’s wonderful movie tells the story of a true life post-war interracial love affair that would have a significant impact on British politics, the colonial administration, and the nation that would become Botswana.
It begins in 1947. David Oyelowo plays Seretse Khama, a young man from Bechuanaland, then a British protectorate, studying law in London. He meets Pike’s Ruth Williams, a woman of humble middle class South London stock, working as a typist. Their first date goes exceptionally well. Realising that he wants to see this woman again, Seretse has to come clean: he is actually a prince in his homeland, and must return imminently to take the throne of Bechuanaland. The two are soon very deeply in love, and in spite of the multiple obstacles to their being together, they marry and he makes his triumphant return with Ruth as his bride. The reaction of Seretse’s people is, to say the least, suspicious, even hostile. But still more chilling is the response of Her Majesty’s government. Neighbouring South Africa, which was in the process of legislating apartheid, is appalled at the prospect of an African king with a white wife, and is threatening to withdraw from the Commonwealth – cutting off British access to its mineral resources.
The machinery of the Commonwealth, desperate to appease, does everything in its considerable power to come between the couple. They force Seretse to return to England alone and plead his case in exile, with considerable public support but up against the duplicity and imcompetence of the government. Meanwhile Ruth is effectively hostage in Bechuanaland, giving birth to their child, and gradually establishing a rapport with her new neighbours.
This is a powerful and uplifting love story, a slice of colonial history, and a damning indictment of colonial politics and its functionaries, quite breathtaking in their smug arrogance (including a particularly juicy performance from Davenport as Alistair Canning).
It will have you cheering as the credits roll, a real gem. View the trailer here.